Governments can use performance audits as a tool for demonstrating to the public that it has fulfilled its responsibilities with regard to accountability of resources. In other words, performance audits show whether resources for running government programs and projects have been acquired economically and utilized efficiently and effectively. This in turn allows governments make informed, data-driven decisions and reduce costs. Performance auditing is a challenging task for auditors and this blended learning aims to help participants better prepare for a performance audit.
What it was about
This learning initiative, which was delivered both online and residentially at CEF premises in Ljubljana, brought together public internal auditors to foster discussion and sharing of good practices on ways to improve public sector efficiency by developing entities’ capacity to audit actual performances against targets.
The learning initiative was delivered as a blended course, divided into:
1.) Online learning phase: The online learning phase started on May 21, 2018 and finished on June 5, 2018. It served as preparation for the face-to-face part of the course and was delivered through the CEF Online Learning Campus: https://www.cef-see.org/olc/
The envisaged workload for participants was about 3 hours per week and it featured a webinar session, reading materials, end-of-unit quizzes, course assignment and an opportunity to connect with other course fellows to debate ideas and get help mastering addressed subject matters. In particular, participants were asked to read some preliminary material offering an introduction to different stages of performance audit process and examining their importance in assuring public sector accountability.
2.) Face-to-face workshop: For the face-to-face part of this course we met at the CEF in Ljubljana from June 12 to June 14, 2018. We used the occasion to focus on audit methodologies and tools for providing assurance with respect to economy, efficiency and effectiveness (value-for-money) of the public spending. We also considered and dealt with more specific topics related to planning, implementing and reporting aspects of performance auditing.
What were the benefits
Subject matter presentations were followed by group work exercises based on real examples guiding participants through performance auditing process and challenging them to consider audit alternatives, make critical decisions and examine the outcomes of their decisions. By the end of the course, participants:
- Learnt about how to select topics for performance audits
- Explored ways to plan and put key steps of the performance audit cycle into practice
- Applied techniques for conducting performance audits
- Discussed performance audit results and recommendations based on the elements of a finding
- Received insights into how to use analytical tools to come to conclusions and recommendations as part of the audit report
- Discussed the requirements and standards for reporting on performance audits
Who was it for
This blended learning initiative brought together heads of internal audit departments, senior internal auditors, senior auditors from Supreme Audit Institutions (SAI), management and senior audit staff at audit authorities, and line ministries’ middle management charged with service delivery from the SEE countries.
As the workshop was designed to combine multiple dimensions of learning (experiential, reflective, theoretical, and practical), participants were expected to have a good command of English to be able to fully engage in workshop’s activities.
Jussi Bright, MBA, MSc, Principle Auditor, European Court of Auditors, Luxembourg
Mr. Bright is currently the principle auditor in the quality control directorate (DQC) at the European Court of Auditors (ECA). Beside normal quality control functions DQC is responsible for drafting and updating audit manuals and methodological guidance generally with the aim of improving ECA performance audits. He has more than 20 years of auditing experience in the Court. During this period he has been involved for nine years in auditing pre- accession funds of the European Commission. He has been involved in numerous performance audits in ECA and was the Head of Task of a 1½ year development capacity projects involving six state audit institutions of western Balkans. He has a Master of Economics degree (University of Turku, Finland), a MBA (Vrije Universiteit Brussels, Belgium) and a Master of Management of Public Organisations (Université de Lorraine, France).
Duncan Last, CEF Associate fellow
Mr. Last has supported the CEF already in its establishment in 2001, when he was Budget and Treasury Advisor for Slovenia. Mr. Last was the IMF PFM Advisor for South East Europe until October 2016, having previously been based at IMF headquarters for 8 years. Prior to that he had been working in the field for 20 years covering various PFM topics, including PFM Advisor at the IMF AFRITAC East; Budget and Treasury Advisor in Slovenia (also covering various other SEE countries); Budget and IFMIS Advisor in Mali and Papua New Guinea; Debt Management Advisor in Papua New Guinea; and Debt Management Software designer at the Commonwealth Secretariat in the UK. After his retirement, Mr. Last remains closely associated with the CEF, supporting CEF learning initiatives especially in the area of PFM.
Tina Toman Pfajfar, Head of the On-Site Inspection Section, Insurance Supervision Agency, Slovenia
Ms. Toman Pfajfar is Head of the On-Site Inspection Section at the Insurance Supervision Agency. In the past, she was the Director of the Internal Audit Service at the Slovenian KD Life Insurance Company. She also worked for the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Slovenia as the Head of Internal Audit Service. Her main responsibilities included risk-based internal auditing, providing assurance to the Minister (or Board) about the risk management and internal control system, preparing a Manual for the Internal Audit Service, PIFC, and others.
She is the president of the Qualified Internal Auditors Committee at the Slovenian Institute of Auditors, and former Vice President of the Slovenian Chapter of the IIA – Institute of the Internal Auditors. She is Certified Internal Auditor at the Slovenian Institute of Auditors, State Internal Auditor at the Ministry of Finance, and State Auditor at the Court of Audit of the Republic of Slovenia. She has a Certification in Risk Management Assurance (CRMA) from the Institute of Internal Auditors.
This learning initiative was supported by: